GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gainesville Regional Airport flights were disrupted and passengers evacuated from the commercial terminal after a caller made a bomb threat about noon Friday.
A caller routed through Avis Car Rental agency's toll free line told an Avis employee there was a bomb in the airport, officials said. Gainesville police immediately evacuated the building and called other local law enforcement agencies to assist.
Gainesville Fire Rescue, Alachua Country Fire Rescue and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded, as did K9 units from the University Police Department. Law enforcement officers swept the building but did not find any suspicious package or indications of a threat.
The terminal and the airfield were closed for about two hours. During that time, at least three commercial flights were affected. Delta flight No. 5421 was delayed on the ground at the airport as passengers and crew were evacuated from the terminal. American Airlines flight No. 3475 from Miami was delayed on the ground in Miami, as was US Airways flight No. 4577 in Charlotte until the Gainesville airport reopened.
The airport's runways were also closed to general aviation traffic during the incident.
About 100 evacuated passengers as well as airport and tenant employees were led to a field southeast of the commercial terminal for safety, officials said. They said Gainesville Regional Transit was called for buses to assist with passengers' comfort during the disruption.
Santa Fe College opened the Kirkpatrick Center Institute for Public Safety, which is located across Northeast 39th Avenue from the airport's entrance road in order to accommodate evacuated passengers as well as passengers arriving for later flights.
Law enforcement continues to investigate the source of the phone call.